Fast lane for lone soldiers first driver’s license conversion day

Nefesh B'Nefesh and FIDF host event where a 1,000 lone soldiers and national service volunteers got expedited conversion of their foreign driver’s licenses in one day.

Nefesh B'Nefesh hosts the first driver's license conversion day for lone soldiers on May 9, 2024. Credit: Courtesy of Nefesh B'Nefesh.
Nefesh B'Nefesh hosts the first driver's license conversion day for lone soldiers on May 9, 2024. Credit: Courtesy of Nefesh B'Nefesh.

Nefesh B’Nefesh and Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), in cooperation with Israel’s Ministry of Transport and Road Safety’s Automobile License Authority, and the IDF human resources department, hosted the first-ever lone soldiers’ driver’s license conversion day on May 9 at the district licensing office in Holon. A total of 1,000 lone soldiers, many of whom are currently serving in Israel’s war efforts, benefited from on-site road tests as well as expedited bureaucratic processes, all aimed at easing and accelerating the experience of converting their foreign driver’s licenses to local Israeli versions, a basic need that they would otherwise have little time to get done. 

In a joint effort to provide much-needed personal support to the young men and women serving in these challenging times, 38 driving instructors lent their personal cars for the event. In addition, the official transportation ministry’s testers and many IDF driving instructors all came together for this special initiative, increasing the number of test slots offered. Each soldier was allotted one driving test; however, an additional test was offered on the spot for those who didn’t pass (which generally can take a significant amount of time). Volunteer teachers offered refresher lessons for the soldiers before their road tests, as some participants attended the event immediately after, and even during, long months of intense combat activity with no recent practical driving experience.

This new initiative was led by the FIDF-Nefesh B’Nefesh Lone Soldier Program, which provides year-round resources, support and guidance for lone soldiers throughout their army service, in addition to assistance with their acclimation to life in Israel.

“We are extremely proud to provide our heroes—these courageous men and women, this essential and time-consuming assistance during these challenging times,” said Rabbi Yehoshua Fass, co-founder and executive director of Nefesh B’Nefesh. “Lone soldiers have such limited, precious free time to care for their personal needs, and as such, it is an honor for us to help them expedite their Israeli driver’s licenses, which is an essential tool to enable further independence necessary to care for themselves. We are grateful to the Ministry of Transport and the IDF human resources department for their generous collaboration to make this event possible and are humbled by the daily selfless accomplishments of each one of these brave soldiers.”

Lone soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces catch up as they wait for their license conversion on May 9, 2024. Credit: Courtesy of Nefesh B’Nefesh.

“Amidst these turbulent times, serving as a soldier in the IDF, especially as a lone soldier, presents immense challenges,” said Steven Weil, CEO of FIDF. “It is our honor to support the courageous individuals who have relinquished the comforts of home, and put their futures on hold, to safeguard one of the world’s most perilous and intricate regions. It is our unwavering commitment to stand by them, offering support for their everyday necessities and beyond, as they courageously navigate their path of service.”

“This special day allows lone soldiers, who have left their families and homeland to serve in the IDF, many of whom are in combat, to quickly and efficiently convert their foreign driving licenses to Israeli ones,” said the Minister of Transportation and Road Safety, Brig. Gen. (Res.) Miri Regev“It is our duty, especially towards these soldiers, to improve this service as much as possible and make it easier for them. This initiative is a small expression of our appreciation and gratitude to the lone soldiers and their important contribution to the security of the State of Israel, and we are committed to continue assisting them in every possible way.”

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Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) was established in 1981 by a group of Holocaust survivors under the leadership of the late John Klein to provide for the education and well-being of the men and women who serve in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), as well as the families of fallen soldiers. Headquartered in New York City, FIDF is a 501c(3) not-for-profit corporation that operates 15 regional offices in the United States and Panama. The strength of the IDF, which has been guarding the State of Israel since it declared independence in 1948, derives from the selfless determination and great capabilities of the young men and women who form it. Those who serve commit to uphold the difficult tasks of defending Israel’s borders and guaranteeing the safety of its people.

Founded in 2002, Nefesh B’Nefesh, in cooperation with Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, the Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael and JNF-USA, strives to facilitate and celebrate aliyah, and advocate for olim. By minimizing financial, professional, logistical and social obstacles, new arrivals are able to actualize their dreams and continue building a stronger Israel. The support and comprehensive social services provided by Nefesh B’Nefesh to its 75,000 new immigrants have ensured that 90% have remained in Israel.

See more at: https://www.nbn.org.il/.

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